Barbados Historic Rally Carnival: Golden that there are no golden rules

Barbados Historic Rally Carnival: Golden that there are no golden rules

I am sooo tempted to have enter this - and the all inclusive car freight/2 return flights/accomodation deal for $4900 means it is almost worth buying a car just to do the event - we would all love an RS1600 - but there are cheaper alternatives....


If he was referring to motorsport, George Bernard Shaw could not have been more accurate.

In the same vein, Thomas Edison got pretty close when he said: "Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something."

Yet every sport must have its rules and regulations, and it becomes more complicated in motorsport, where not only are sporting rules required, but there must also be rules - or regulations - concerning the cars involved.

And cars are undoubtedly more complicated than, say, a football. The 2015 World Rally Championship cars are hidebound by a near-plethora of old, recent and new technical regulations, demanding the talents of experienced engineering sleuths to understand fully.

Historic motorsport has somewhat more complicated technical regulations, as currently interpreted by the FIA and its scrutineers; not only are period FIA Appendix J regs and period homologation papers applied, but a 'period proof' burden is placed on the competitor, with regard to the way his car has been modified for rallying. Essentially, even if a modification was permitted by period Appendix J and period homologation papers, competitors still have to prove that the modification was used 'in period' on a rally car which actually competed in an international event. Sleuths indeed!

As always, things are somewhat less complicated in the tropics. The Barbados Historic Rally Carnival runs to a set of technical regulations derived from the period FIA Appendix J, but without the need for model homologation or period proof; only period commercial availability of the model entered and period technology is required; with the exception of rollcages, which can be constructed to modern spec.

So, how does an aspiring historic rallyist get started on the road to one of the best motorsport holidays on the planet? The easiest way would be to enter a car which already has an FIA Historic Technical Passport (HTP) or an MSA Historic Rally Vehicle Identity Form (HRVIF); both of which satisfy a higher 'burden of proof' regarding the way the cars are modified.

But that would be boring, especially since one of the main reasons Barbados doesn't require such is the proliferation of old cars which were rallied in period in the Caribbean, but were not necessarily rallied extensively in Europe, especially Japanese cars with unusual engine options. The opportunity therefore exists to build a car cheaper than might be the case if using parts which were homologated, or maybe choose something completely different, especially since Barbados' asphalt is somewhat more forgiving than British forests.

The Barbados Historic Rally Carnival vehicle categories use the same date-breaks as those in UK historic rallying. For example, 'Historic' is UK Category 1: for cars marketed before 31 December 1967 - the fastest cars here would likely be Sunbeam Tiger, Triumph TR5, Lotus Elan, or Lotus Cortina. Cheapest would be Mini, Spitfire, MGB or Midget. It is unlikely that a Category 1 car would be capable of overall victory and wheels are limited to 6in-wide, albeit with the same modern, low-profile, moulded rally tyres as the other categories.

In Barbados, like UK, 'Post-Historic' category is for cars marketed between 1 January 1968 and 31 December 1974. Cars from category 2 are definite contenders for overall victory and the island's notoriously slippery asphalt surface eliminates the advantages of later Porsches and Escorts. Fastest in this category would likely be Escort RS1600, BMW 2002, Ford Capri Perana or RS3100, Mazda RX3 and Porsche 911. One of the most economical options would probably be the Hillman Avenger.

When he won the 2014 Rentokil Initial Killarney Historic Rally and secured a free trip to the 2015 Barbados Historic Rally Carnival, Denis Moynihan proved that Category 2 Escort RS1600s don't show their age differential in 'modern' asphalt historic rallying; a victory for Denis in Barbados certainly couldn't be discounted.

The third Category is 'Classic', for cars marketed between 1 January 1975 and 31 December 1981. Here, the front runners for class and overall victory would likely be pedalling a Ford Escort RS1800, Vauxhall Chevette HSR, Fiat 131 Abarth, Porsche 911 or Talbot-Sunbeam Lotus. Other cost-effective strong contenders would likely be something Japanese, like the Toyota Corolla, Daihatsu Charmant or Mazda RX7.#

Category 4 was recently added to BHRC regs to accommodate two-wheel-drive normally-aspirated cars marketed between 1 January 1982 and 31 December 1985, as rallied internationally during the 'Group A' period. Cars in this category can be built and bought economically, especially models such as the Peugeot 205, Vauxhall/Opel Astra, Vauxhall/Opel Nova/Corsa... and, of course, that clubman's favourite: the Toyota Corolla AE86.

Referring to this comparatively cheap option, Bajan rallyman himself and Barbados Historic Rally Carnival organiser Greg Cozier opines: "A proper pedaller could win overall from this class, for sure. Our roads don't have enough grip for a 'big power' advantage; low weight and nimble handling are hugely important. Peugeot 205s have been winning here since the model was launched."

Barbados Group B is for FIA-homologated Group B cars marketed between 1 January 1982 and 31 December 1986, as well as cars from Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 which do not conform to the Barbados technical regulations. This category is simply for owners of these mega machines to enjoy some sideways fun in the sun, provide immense entertainment and enjoyment for themselves and the local petrolhead spectators, while competing for class awards and bragging rights.

And, like all category competitors, enjoy a cheap two-week Caribbean holiday into the bargain. . . which could be a full family affair, as the Carnival happens before post-summer break school terms begin.

Who could make it fairer than that?

But wait. Who can say cheaper than this? The US$4,900 entry fee includes: return shipping of one rally car from Portsmouth, UK, to Barbados, entry to the Historic Rally and the Rallysprint, two return flights from London, one double hotel room for 12 nights and free entry to all Carnival social events. Yes, you read correctly: all that for US$4,900.


Thu 20 Aug: Arrive at GAIA airport; coaches to hotel; 'meet and greet' at hotel bar

at 17.00.

Fri 21 Aug: Scrutiny at 17.00; welcome party at 19.00.

Sat 22 Aug: RallySprint at noon; prizegiving party after.

Sun 23 Aug: Ian Grindrod Invitational 20/20 cricket match and Hog Roast at noon.

Mon 24 Aug: Rally Recce.

Tue 25 Aug: Rally Recce.

Wed 26 Aug: Late scrutiny and unrestricted testing at 15.00.

Thu 27 Aug: Rally briefing meeting and party at 19.00.

Fri 28 Aug: Rally Recce.

Sat 29 Aug: Historic Rally starting at noon (11.00 sign-on).

Sun 30 Aug: Historic Rally official results posting and prizegiving on Jolly Roger pirate ship in Bridgetown; careenage at noon.

Mon 31 Aug: Pack up cars to ship out.

Tue 1 Sep: Coaches from hotel to airport for trip home.

If you wish to register an interest and/or have any questions, please email the Rally Carnival organiser Greg Cozier at:

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